I was reading the GnuCash Tutorial and Concepts Guide to learn about handling multiple currencies (GBP and EUR).

It says you can import exchange rates automatically, but it’s missing the following information before the “Get Quotes” button does its job:

  • Register for a personal API key from the Alpha Vantage website
  • Navigate to GnuCash’s online quotes preferences (Edit > Preferences > Online Quotes)
  • Paste the API key into the Alpha Vantage API key field

As a bonus, you can now script currency conversions using gnc-fq-dump. The Alpha Vantage API key is stored in dconf.

$ export ALPHAVANTAGE_API_KEY="$(dconf read /org/gnucash/general/finance-quote/alphavantage-api-key)"
$ gnc-fq-dump currency GBP EUR
1 GBP = 1.17502 EUR


The tutorial says only this: Automatic Updating Exchange Rates (How-To)

Open the Price Editor by going to Tools → Price Editor.

Click on the Get Quotes button to automatically load the various exchange rates you need.

I try that and get an error:

Unable to retrieve quotes for these items:

I searched on Google for [gnucash unable to retrieve quotes for these items] and found the same error reported by Paul Annekov on Personal Finance and Money Stack Exchange.

Paul’s problem was requesting more currencies than the Alpha Vantage API allows. But I am requesting only one.

The Alpha Vantage API is not mentioned in the tutorial’s currency page.

Anyway, Paul says this:

What I tried:

  • I set up Alpha Vantage API key in Preferences - Online Quotes

GnuCash’s Online Quotes wiki page has more info about this.

Finance::Quote’s alphavantage and currency sources require an AlphaVantage API key that you can get free from the AlphaVantage Website. Command-line Helper Scripts like gnc-fq-dump will obtain the key from the ALPHAVANTAGE_API_KEY environment variable. GnuCash will too if it uses the same environment.

For GnuCash to be able to use Online Quotes, if the API key is not already specified in the environment, it can be entered in

  • GnuCash versions 2.6.20/2.7.4 and newer: Online Quotes tab of GnuCash Preferences

After navigating all this, I got the the solution which you read at the top of the page.